Bicycle coalition formed for a more bicycle friendly Cleveland Heights
Did you know that:
- Cleveland Heights ranks in the top 10 percent nationally for the number of residents that commute to work by bicycle,
- Since 1961, our city has offered Safety Town and other programs to educate our children to navigate sidewalks and roads safely on foot or by bike, and
- Every one of our business districts and libraries and almost every school has one or more bicycle racks?
Neither did I, until I completed an application in February for Cleveland Heights to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. In May, I learned that the application garnered an Honorable Mention. That means that we have a solid base on which to build for an award in the next year or two. The awards remain in effect for four years and range from platinum and gold to silver and bronze.
Why does being bicycle friendly matter? It’s an integral part of building livable, healthy communities. Bicyclists are an indicator of a healthy, vibrant community. Bicycle-friendly towns, like those with good schools and enjoyable business districts, are communities that offer improved quality of life, which can lead to higher property values, business growth and increased visits to our city. Being recognized as bicycle friendly will give Cleveland Heights even more cachet than it already has.
That’s why a group of bicycle enthusiasts has formed the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition (CHBC)—to make ours a first-rate cycling city. The core group of founders includes sisters Joy and Ann Henderson, Nicholas Matthew and me. Dozens of others have expressed interest and want to become involved.
We are passionate about improving our city’s bicycle infrastructure and safety, enhancing the city’s connectivity to University Circle, and supporting the growth of the regional cycling network. We want to help implement Safe Routes to School, a national program that encourages students to walk or ride bikes to school. We want to promote bicycling for recreation and transportation, and are encouraged because residents have enthusiastically welcomed the free, open-to-all group rides that we started in June.
CHBC looks forward to working with our city to improve opportunities for safe, convenient cycling in Cleveland Heights and our region. Already, City Council declared May Bike Month in Cleveland Heights, and the police department assigned Officer Sean Hinkle to bicycle duties. As we get underway, we have met with Richard Wong, director of planning and development for the City of Cleveland Heights. Wong is an avid cyclist who represents Cleveland Heights at meetings of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s Transportation Advisory Committee and Bicycle Advisory Council.
More information about the CHBC is available at www.bikesintheheights.org. CHBC is also on Facebook, and operates the Twitter account CHBikeCoalition.
Mary Dunbar has enjoyed bicycling in Cleveland Heights and beyond since moving here in 1970.